Ok, ok, Mother Nature, we get it. You can snow. Now you can stop it.

I think I’m seriously cut out for warmer weather. It’s a shame I like being Canadian so much, because I wouldn’t give up living here, even if I could enjoy a more pleasant climate. Maybe when Canada annexes Turks and Caicos, I will have some relief.

My trip home from Montreal on Wednesday night was something of an ordeal. My flight was scheduled for 7:50pm. I got to the Montreal airport at 7:15pm, because I’d signed up for flight updates by SMS. Since I didn’t get any notice there was a problem with my flight, I optimistically arrived on time. Of course, at 7:16pm, the notice arrived on my phone. The flight was delayed until 8:40pm. “And so it begins,” I said out loud, to no one in particular. I settled into a seat in the gate waiting area to see what Air Canada’s definition of 8:40pm would eventually be.

At 8:30pm, it was clear that the flight was not leaving. No one was standing at the gate, getting things ready for departure. There was no call to prepare to board the flight. Soon enough, the time of departure was updated. 9:50pm. Around that time, I got the notification on my phone about the new delay.

At 9:40pm, there was still no sign of movement. I looked at the big LCD monitors to see the latest estimate. 11:15pm. There was no notification by SMS. I guess the SMS-sending computer was embarassed.

By 11:00pm, we finally started boarding the plane. The airport was mostly empty by this point. I thought that was a relief. There should be little delay getting off the ground. Wrong.

At 11:30pm, we were still sitting in the plane at the gate. The door to the plane was still open, which I took to be a bad sign. Eventually, the pilot spoke over the PA system, letting us know that we’d be on our way as soon as they could get a ground crew to load the luggage onto the plane and push us out to the taxiway. What?! They delayed the flight by three and a half hours, and didn’t know they’d need a ground crew?!

There were a few sporadic messages from the flight deck over the next 40 minutes, apologizing for the delay. There was a heated exchange between the flight attendant, and someone who poked his head into the plane from outside. Apparently no one wanted to load luggage onto our plane. We could see other ground crews assisting other flights in adjacent gates. None of them came over to our plane when they were done.

By about midnight, a ground crew arrived from a different terminal to load our plane. After that, things went rather quickly. We were in the air by about 12:25am. I have to say this was not Air Canada’s finest… er… four hours.

In other news, I took the plunge and ordered a new computer. My old one was inexplicably turning itself off at random times, often while I was in the middle of working on something. Not only is this a recipe for data corruption, but it’s highly annoying. Instead of spending hours and hundreds of dollars trying to troubleshoot the many possible causes for this, I decided to replace the guts of the machine. The old one, while perfectly fast enough for my needs, was about two or three years old, and didn’t really owe me anything.

I’ve spent the last day or two setting up the new machine. It’s a quad-core Intel processor, which is the current best bang-for-your-buck for running Photoshop. I also put 4GB of nice fast DDR2 memory in there. I replaced the power supply with a quiet 500W model too, in case the old one was causing my sudden shut-down issues. I also caved in and got Windows Vista Ultimate. I hadn’t been planning to get Vista, but I figured if I was going to start from scratch, I might as well give it a shot. It turns out to be not as bad as I had thought. Most of my software seems to run on it, and it’s certainly prettier than XP. The new processor chews through my camera raw files like lightning. I like it!

So, I’m finally feeling at home again. I’ve got my computer set up how I want, and I’m back in my comfy loft in Hamilton. It’s snowing like mad out there. This is not a bad place to be.